If you were one of the estimated 5,000 people who attended last year’s 11th annual Camas Car Show, chances are pretty good that Janelle and Richard Cummins’ restored 1948 GMC pickup truck caught your eye.
After all, with its glossy, cherry-red exterior and brown leather interior, this truck is pretty hard to overlook.
Just ask a car show judge. Last year, the ’48 GMC won “Best in Show” at the Camas Car Show and its owners say the truck has been a winner since the first day they brought it home from Brent Housley’s Mad Max Creations auto restoration shop three years ago.
“We had just got it back,” Janelle remembers. “We grabbed an ice chest and drove it straight to a car show at (Grove Field airport). It looked like it had just come out of the showroom and it won Best in Show!”
That was three years ago. Since then, the Camas couple has enjoyed taking their restored GMC out to local car shows — and Janelle, who grew up in Camas, says she always looks forward to the local show, which celebrates its 12th year this weekend. Unlike many enthusiasts who simply love the thrill of finding a classic car and bringing it back to its original glory, Janelle says her path to restoring the ’48 GMC was more sentimental than anything. The truck had belonged to her former father-in-law and Janelle had fond memories of riding around in the GMC and of actually “winning” the truck in a bet. During her first pregnancy, everyone in the family except Janelle thought she was having a girl. Her father-in-law said he’d give her the pickup if he was wrong. Years later — after giving birth to two sons but no daughters — Janelle asked her ex-husband if he’d consider selling her the GMC to restore.
She and her second husband, Richard, got a “donor truck” for parts, employed Housley for his restoration know-how and spent the next three years turning the beat-up GMC into a work of art.
“This was a sentimental thing for me,” Janelle says. She nods toward her 1-year-old grandson, Cole, playing near the GMC. “Someday, it will be his.”
To catch a glimpse of the ’48 GMC — and about 200 other classic cars, trucks and motorcycles — head out to the 12th annual Camas Car Show this Saturday from 4 to 8:30 p.m. Proceeds will benefit the Inter-faith Treasure House Food Bank. Bring two cans of food to donate, and receive a free raffle ticket.